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Pedroso S.S.,Instituto Superior Of Psicologia Aplicada Instituto Universitario | Barber I.,University of Leicester | Svensson O.,Gothenburg University | Fonseca P.J.,University of Lisbon | Amorim M.C.P.,Instituto Superior Of Psicologia Aplicada Instituto Universitario
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Acoustic signals can encode crucial information about species identity and individual quality. We recorded and compared male courtship drum sounds of the sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus and the painted goby P. pictus and examined if they can function in species recognition within sympatric populations. We also examined which acoustic features are related to male quality and the factors that affect female courtship in the sand goby, to determine whether vocalisations potentially play a role in mate assessment. Drums produced by the painted goby showed significantly higher dominant frequencies, higher sound pulse repetition rates and longer intervals between sounds than those of the sand goby. In the sand goby, male quality was predicted by visual and acoustic courtship signals. Regression analyses showed that sound amplitude was a good predictor of male length, whereas the duration of nest behaviour and active calling rate (i.e. excluding silent periods) were good predictors of male condition factor and fat reserves respectively. In addition, the level of female courtship was predicted by male nest behaviour. The results suggest that the frequency and temporal patterns of sounds can encode species identity, whereas sound amplitude and calling activity reflects male size and fat reserves. Visual courtship duration (nest-related behaviour) also seems relevant to mate choice, since it reflects male condition and is related to female courtship. Our work suggests that acoustic communication can contribute to mate choice in the sand goby group, and invites further study. © 2013 Pedroso et al.

Pereira R.,University of Lisbon | Rismondo S.,University of Lisbon | Caiano M.,University of Lisbon | Pedroso S.S.,Instituto Superior Of Psicologia Aplicada Instituto Universitario | And 2 more authors.
Ethology | Year: 2014

Animals often vocalize during territorial challenges as acoustic signals may indicate motivation and fighting ability and contribute to reduce aggressive escalation. Here, we tested the function of agonistic sounds in territorial defence in the painted goby. Pomatoschistus pictus, a small vocal marine fish that defends nests during the breeding season. We first measured the number of times a male approached, avoided, explored, entered and exited two unattended nests associated with either conspecific agonistic sounds or a control: silence or white noise. Acoustic stimuli were played back when the male approached a nest. In a second experimental set, we added visual stimuli, consisting of a conspecific male in a small confinement aquarium near each nest. Even though we found no effect of the visual stimuli, the sound playbacks induced similar effects in both experimental conditions. In the sound vs. silence treatment, we found that when males approached a nest, the playback of conspecific sounds usually triggered avoidance. However, this behaviour did not last as in longer periods males visited nests associated with agonistic sounds more often than silent ones. When the control was white noise, we found no significant effect of the playback treatment in male behaviour. Although we cannot exclude the possibility that other sounds may dissuade nest occupation, our results suggest that agonistic sounds act as territorial intrusion deterrents but are insufficient to prevent nest intrusion on their own. Further studies are needed to test the significance of sound production rate, spectral content and temporal patterns to deter territorial intrusion in fish. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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